April, May, June 2014Parsonage Parables

Seeking Community

I believe we all seek community.

Dad and mom talk about the community getting together during harvest time to help each other. When I was growing up, the church and school were pretty much the only game in town so much of what happened in our life, happened there. When our kids were involved in athletics, we spent A LOT of time with parents in various localities and that was a community.

One time I was flying back from somewhere and I texted my twenty-something son I was coming through town. He said he was out with some of his high school friends for a meal and asked me to join them. It was great to see some of these “kids” that I hadn’t seen for a few years. Around the table were 8 or 9 people. During the meal, there was not one single minute that someone was not on their phone.

Now I’m not the “this is the downfall of civilization” guy. I’m the wow, our community has changed guy. Our kids seek community. It just so happens they get instant community. You get “friended” on Facebook. You “follow” someone on Twitter. You join a Google group. Those (and many others) are communities!

Technology has allowed me to be in contact with people literally around the world on a daily basis. I have contact with former students, classmates, friends who live near & far, and people I’ve worked with over the years. Without technology, it would have been nearly impossible to reunite with these communities. So what’s worse, having an electronic community or no community at all?

I was reading a sermon my dad wrote. He’s a retired pastor, but still teaches religion courses at a local university. Dad was asked by a student if he ever cries at funerals.  He responded, “Yes, but only once have I wept.  There were three people at the burial – the funeral director, the guy on a tractor, and me.  One only has to stand by an open grave on a lonely hill, with no family, friends, to know our need for family, for church, for community.”

We all seek community. Community is simply different today.

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